WT1 Vaccination in AML and MDS: A Pilot Trial with Synthetic Analog Peptides

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Peptide vaccines are capable of eliciting immune responses targeting tumor-associated antigens such as the Wilms’ Tumor 1 (WT1) antigen, often overexpressed in myeloid malignancies. Here, we assessed the safety, tolerability, and immunogenicity of a polyvalent WT1 peptide vaccine. Individuals with WT1-positive acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in first (CR1) or second (CR2) remission or with higher-risk myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) following at least 1 prior line of therapy were vaccinated with a mixture of peptides derived from the WT1 protein, with sargramostim injections before vaccination to amplify immunogenicity. Six vaccinations were delivered biweekly, continuing then monthly until patients received 12 vaccinations or showed disease relapse or progression. Therapeutic efficacy was evaluated by progression-free and overall survival. Immune responses were evaluated by delayed-type hypersensitivity testing and T-cell IFNγ ELISPOT at specified intervals. In 16 patients who received at least one vaccination, 10 completed the planned course of six vaccinations and six continued for up to six additional monthly vaccinations. Vaccinations were well tolerated, with no patients discontinuing due to toxicity. One of two patients with high-risk MDS experienced a prolonged decrease in transfusion dependence. Two of 14 AML patients demonstrated relapse-free survival >1 year. Both patients were in CR2 at time of vaccination, with duration of their remission exceeding duration of their first remission, suggesting a potential benefit. Our WT1 vaccine was well-tolerated. The clinical benefit that we observed in several patients suggests engagement of a protective immune response, indicating a need for further trials. Am. J. Hematol. 90:602–607, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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American Journal of Hematology, v. 90, issue 7, p. 602-607

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